FAMU’s English Literary Guild hosts 13th Annual Spring Literary Forum

FAMU's English Literary Guild hosted the 13th Annual Spring Literary Forum which was a multi-day event to discuss Black Science Fiction.
Photo Courtesy of FAMU English LIT Guild.

The English Literary Guild discusses Black Science Fiction featuring guest speakers, discussion panels, cosplay parades and much more.

Florida A&M University’s English Literary Guild ended Black History Month with 13th Annual Spring Literary Forum. The theme was “Black to the Future 2: The Black Heroic Meme Past, Present and Future” and held from February 28th to March 1st in the Grand Ballroom.

Sponsored by the English and Modern Languages Department, the purpose of the event was to bring together all those interested in genres such as Dystopian, Steampunk, Horror, Science- Fiction and Comic books.

Co-Advisor of the English Literary Guild, Kasja Henry, explained how the theme was meant to showcase the creativity of the Black community.

“The Afro-punk theme pushes the definition of blackness and values representations associated with alternative and punk lifestyles,” Henry said.

The event was free and open to students, faculty and community members. Some of the guest speakers included was Alex Brickler, Maxine, Montgomery, Rhone Fraser, and Na’imah Ford.

Topics discussed were about how Afro-Futurism is the way that most African Americans are leaning towards for creative writing and about the importance of African Americans expressing themselves in the Afro-Punk genre. The special keynote speaker of the event was founder of Stranger Comics, Sebastian Jones.

President of the organization, Marilyn McClarey, was very excited about the turn out but believed the attendance could have been higher if students had better knowledge of the organization.

I want people to know that the English Guild has been actively involved in creating events and forums that are designed to enhance the totality of one's intellect,” McClarey said, “As Arts and Humanities majors, we understand that creativity linked with scholarship creates a world of endless possibilities. And since Afrocentric themes a lifestyle and not simply fashion, it makes sense to use practical elements of creativity.”

The FAMU English Literary Guild seeks to be the academic organ of the Department of English. They travel with the knowledge given to them through the Department of English and work to color the world with their research. They consider the foundation FAMU has given them to be strong and their history worth knowing.

Since establishing in 2017, McClarey has found the organization very rewarding and she expressed she was hopeful about the future.

“This program is very important to me, in part because it shows more than one type of learner,” McClarey said. “FAMU students are creative, resilient, and unafraid of being authentically themselves. This program opens up a world of ideas regarding travel, literacy, and our legacy in the world.”

According to the organization’s website, the English Literary Guild promotes the development and the importance of literature, as both an art form and as a professional skill, to allow students majoring or minoring in the fields of English, or other and/or related fields. The English Literary Guild also develops their skills and allows them to further understand the power of literature, as well as writing and critical thinking skills, in the professional arena.

The English Literary Guild hoped the theme of the event brought out individuals who would take membership in the future. This past week, 50 members were inducted into the organization. Vice President, Vashti Jenkins-Taylor believed the theme helped grabbed student’s attention.

“We wanted the theme to help us emphasize the link between literature and art,” said Jenkins-Taylor. “Our members can freely express their blackness and creativity in afro-punk style.”

The English Literary Guild hosts various events such as The Southern Atlantic MLA conference held in November and volunteer at the Annual Younger Poets Series held each fall semester. During FAMU’s 2018 Homecoming Parade, the organizations handed out over 100 books to kids.

In an effort to spread the word about the organization, Jenkins-Taylor detailed how The English Guild has already begun planning for the rest of the spring semester. 

“Our future plans for The English LIT Guild are to continue to do public service events throughout the semester,” said Jenkins-Taylor. “We hope to host more discussion panels about literature in student’s daily lives.”

If you would like more information about the FAMU English Literary Guild, contact them at 850-412-5556.